Elizabeth K. Meyer named 19th Laureate of Vincent Scully Prize

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University of Virginia professor to accept during public program at the National Building Museum

Elizabeth K. Meyer.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Building Museum will present the 2019 Vincent Scully Prize to Elizabeth K. Meyer, FASLA, the Merrill D. Peterson Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Virginia School of Architecture.

A public program celebrating the award will be held on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 from 6:30 to 8 pm at the National Building Museum. In a conversation with Thaisa Way, program director of garden and landscape studies, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collections, Meyer will discuss several contemporary topics in landscape architecture and public space design, including: how urban planning and topographies correlate with race and privilege, how plants and animals collaborate in placemaking, why non-native plants are necessary for resilient landscapes, and why aesthetics matters in responses to climate change.

“This Prize is such an unexpected and meaningful honor,” said Meyer. “I admire so many of its former recipients for their substantial contributions to the built environment. Like Vincent Scully, I care deeply about the role of history and theory in design education.”

The Vincent Scully Prize recipient is selected by a jury, including members James Corner, RLA, FASLA; Maurice Cox; Ellen Dunham-Jones; and led by chair Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, FAIA.

“Landscape architect, theorist, historian, university professor and former dean, Elizabeth Meyer embodies the very spirit of Vincent Scully as a master lecturer who inspired generations of practitioners,” said Plater-Zyberk. “Integrating research and writing with professional, administrative and civic responsibilities, Meyer has produced an influential body of theory, interpretation and criticism, on landscape topics related to aesthetics, sustainability, culture, and social impact.”

Elizabeth K. Meyer, FASLA, is the Merrill D. Peterson Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Virginia School of Architecture, and the founding director of the cross-disciplinary UVA Center for Cultural Landscapes. She holds degrees from the University of Virginia and Cornell University, and also taught at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Her teaching, research, and scholarship have garnered honors, grants, and awards from the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture, American Society of Landscape Architects, Dumbarton Oaks Research Center, the Graham Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts and Mellon Foundation. While building an international reputation as a design theorist and critic, she has also served in several additional leadership roles, including the UVA School of Architecture Dean, the vice-chair of the US Commission of Fine Arts, and the chair of Dumbarton Oaks Garden and Landscape Studies’ Senior Fellows.

Meyer has assisted with the research, interpretation, planning, and design of significant projects such as the UVA Academical Village (with EDAW), Bryant Park in NYC (with Laurie Olin), the Wellesley College campus outside of Boston (with MVVA), the St. Louis Gateway Arch Grounds, a modernist memorial landscape designed by Eero Saarinen and Dan Kiley (with MVVA), and first Lady Michelle Obama’s White House Kitchen Garden expansion (with UVA colleagues and the National Park Service 2016). In addition to her scholarship and consulting, Meyer has served on ten national design competition juries over the past twenty years including Rethink. Restore. Rebuild, the Trust for the National Mall’s design competition for three sites within the monumental core landscape. In 2012, President Obama appointed her to the US Commission of Fine Arts, the design review board for protecting the federal interest in Washington, D.C.

She is currently completing a book titled The Margins of Modernity: Practices of Modern Landscape Architecture.

The Vincent Scully Prize was established in 1999 to recognize exemplary practice, scholarship, or criticism in architecture, historic preservation, and urban design. It is named after Professor Vincent Scully, to honor his work and extend his legacy. Scully was the Sterling Professor Emeritus of the History of Art at Yale University and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Miami. For more than four decades his teaching and scholarship have profoundly influenced prominent architects and urban planners.

Past recipients are listed here with their affiliation at the time of their selection:

  • Vincent Scully, Sterling Professor Emeritus of the History of Art at Yale University
  • Jane Jacobs, urbanist and author of The Nature of Economies
  • Andrés Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, founders of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co
  • Robert Venturi, FAIA and Denise Scott Brown, RIBA
  • His Highness the Aga Khan
  • His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales
  • Phyllis Lambert, architect, educator, philanthropist, and activist
  • Witold Rybczynski, architectural critic, author and essayist
  • Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Robert A.M. Stern, dean of the Yale School of Architecture
  • Christopher Alexander, architect and author
  • Adele Chatfield-Taylor, president of the American Academy in Rome
  • William K. Reilly, former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
  • Paul Goldberger, architecture critic and contributing editor, Vanity Fair
  • Joshua David and Robert Hammond, co-founders, Friends of the High Line
  • Laurie Olin, FASLA, founding principal of the Philadelphia-based OLIN studio and esteemed professor at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Robert Campbell, architecture critic, The Boston Globe and Inga Saffron, architecture critic, The Philadelphia Inquirer

The National Building Museum is grateful for the generous donations to the Vincent Scully Prize received since its inception, which sustain the program.

The National Building Museum inspires curiosity about the world we design and build. We believe that understanding the history and impact of architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, construction, and design is important for all ages. Through exhibitions and educational programs, we show how the built world has power to shape our lives, communities, and futures. Public inquiries: 202.272.2448 or visit www.nbm.org. Connect with us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.